MITOCHONDRION: in memory of Professor Lech Wojtczak

On February 5th 2020, the conference "8th MITOCHONDRION: in memory of Professor Lech Wojtczak" was held at the Nencki Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Professor Lech Wojtczak (1926-2019), associated his entire scientific life with the Nencki Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, where he worked since 1947. He is the author or co-author of two hundred scientific papers. From 1971, Professor Lech Wojtczak was a correspondent member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and from 1989, a real member of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He served, among other functions: chairman of the Cytobiology Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences (1972–75), chairman of the Editorial Board of the Acta Biochimica Polonica, member of the FEBS Scholarship Committee (1978–80); and then the president (1974–80 and 2005–08) of the Polish Biochemical Society. From 2012, he was the chairman of the Council of Founders and the Foundation Council, the Nencki Foundation. In 1988, he received an honorary doctorate from the Medical University of Magdeburg. Professor Lech Wojtczak was awarded, among others: the Knight's Cross of the Order of the Rebirth of Poland, the Officer's Cross of the Order of the Rebirth of Poland, and the Commander's Cross of the Order of the Rebirth of Poland. He is considered the father of Polish bioenergetics.

 

The 8th MITOCHONDRION conference is a continuation of bioenergetics meetings that have taken place in Poland in recent years: in Warsaw, Poznań, Wrocław, and Mikołajki. The meeting was organized by the Nencki Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Polish Biochemical Society - Bioenergetics Section, and the Nencki Foundation. The conference consisted of two parts. After welcoming the family of prof. Lech Wojtczak, invited guests, and all participants of the Conference by the Director of the Nencki Institute PAS, prof. Agnieszka Dobrzyń, the morning session (led by Prof. Maciej Nałęcz) was dedicated to the memory of prof. Lech Wojtczak. An introductory lecture was given by prof. Jerzy Duszyński, President of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Then the following spoke: prof. Andrzej Legocki (President of the Polish Biochemical Society), prof. Bożena Kamińska-Kaczmarek, prof. Adam Szewczyk, prof. Jolanta Barańska, prof. Wiesława Jarmuszkiewicz, prof. Paweł Pomorski, prof. Michał Woźniak, and prof. Maciej Nałęcz. Then the naming ceremony of the lecture hall of the Nencki Institute followed, named after prof. Lech Wojtczak. The ceremony was attended by the family of prof. Lech Wojtczak and friends, as well as conference participants and employees of the Nencki Institute PAS.

 

The afternoon session, led by prof. Adam Szewczyk and prof. Mariusz Więckowski, was devoted to bioenergetic research: the opening lecture on uncoupling proteins was given by prof. Wiesława Jarmuszkiewicz. Next, 16 short presentations were given, mainly by PhD students from various scientific institutions. The next meeting of the Polish bioenergy environment is planned in September 2020 in Lublin, during the meeting of the Polish Biochemical Society.